The argument for and against marriage equality is constantly heated, emotional and at times, misguided and bigoted. The main themes argued against equality either have religious foundations in the definition of ‘Marriage’, or claim that same-sex couples are insufficient as parents. Regardless of the arguments basis, they are all filled with varying degrees of prejudice. It’s not unexpected given that acceptance of homosexuality has only really started within the last 20 years.
Meanwhile in Australia, funds are being cut from social services, education, and environmental protection due to a perceived lack of funding. So what if we could solve both of these problems? What if we take the emotion, religion, value and prejudice out of the equation and focus only on the economics?
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the census in 2011 registered 33714 same-sex couples living together, with no information available on the number of same-sex couples that don’t live together. This is a 32% increase in comparison to the 2006 data1. I think it is safe to assume that in any five year period this rate of change will hold steady as a conservative value.
So how much money can be made from these statistical values? According to Australian Securities and Investments Commission the average wedding in Australia costs $362002. So by enabling marriage equality an additional $1.22 billion can be pushed into the Australian economy by existing couples alone3, and a further $78 million every year for new couples. So what does the Government get out of this? A GST revenue of $122 million for existing couples, and an additional $7.8 million every year.
So if money is so short we need to cease University fee assistance (HECS-HELP) to save $87.1 million over three years4, along with taking $2.8 million away from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority5 (just to name a few of the cuts), why are we not looking at simple ways to generate that revenue?
Given the current political climate in Australia where cuts are being made across the board, why isn’t this financial opportunity being pounced on?
What is more important? The oppression of a slice of society and the denial of equality, or generating much needed government revenue?
It is a farce that the support our societies have for marriage equality isn’t shared by the Governments they are represented by. It’s also a shame that the simple argument for equality, inclusion and love are not enough. So when the value of equality falls on deaf ears, the only remaining value understood by a Government is funding.